A crucial stage in a woman's life, menopause signifies the cessation of ovarian activity. However, before this, pre-menopause can cause various discomforts, the symptoms of which it is necessary to know and recognise. Here they are.
What is menopause?
Menopause is defined by the cessation of menstruation. Physiologically, it corresponds to the halt of ovarian activity and thus the end of menstrual cycles. The female sex hormones - oestrogen and progesterone - decrease. Unlike men who produce sperm throughout their lives, women are born with a finite stock of follicles. These are small sacs in the ovaries, each containing an immature egg. At the start of each cycle, several follicles enlarge and one is selected to mature and release a mature egg: this is ovulation, which occurs in the middle of the cycle.
Every woman establishes her stock of follicles even before her birth, and this reserve diminishes throughout life until it is completely depleted: this is menopause. The follicles produce sex hormones. During the first half of the cycle, the follicle predominantly produces oestrogens, while the corpus luteum, in the second half of the cycle, produces progesterone. As the follicle reserve thins, the quantity of sex hormones decreases. However, the decline in progesterone is faster than that of oestrogens, leading to a period of hyperoestrogenism that causes the classic symptoms of pre-menopause: hot flushes, vaginal dryness, mood disorders, insomnia, etc...